Matsui feels OK but doesn't start

Matsui feels OK but doesn't start

HOUSTON -- Second baseman Kazuo Matsui, who was knocked to the ground when he fouled a ball off of his right knee in his final at-bat Thursday, was not in the starting lineup Friday, but manager Brad Mills said the veteran was feeling good enough to play.

"The only reason I'm not saying he's 100 percent is he's not running around," Mills said. "I was talking to him earlier today, and both the doctors and trainers said he's fine. There's no limitations on Kaz tonight."

Jeff Keppinger and Matsui have been splitting time at second base, with Keppinger making his eighth start of the season Friday, matching the eight starts at second Matsui has made. Keppinger is hitting .500 against left-handers this year, so it made sense he started against Pittsburgh lefty Paul Maholm.

Matsui was hitting .107 through 15 games, including a career-worst 0-for-19 streak. Mills said Matsui remains a valuable asset off the bench because of his ability to switch-hit and handle the bat.

"That's a big weapon," he said.

Matsui missed more than a month of the 2005 season with the Mets after bruising his left knee when he fouled a ball off of himself.